Saturday, August 18, 2007

Heard Around-Weekend Edition

I was only going to do one Final edition but the world of tennis moves faster than an Andy Roddick serve.

"A True Fan" of Justine's on the ESPN message board posted the following stats.

Some head-to-head statistics :

Juju - Sharapova : 5-2
Juju- Dementieva : 8-2
Juju - Petrova : 10-2
Juju-Kuznetsova : 14-2
Juju-Chakvetadze : 2-0
Juju-Safina : 3-0

GRAND TOTAL : 42-8 on all surfaces against very strong top 3-5-10 opposition

Impressive and worthy of a true number one player !
Like her or not this is more than passingly interesting.

And now, the Weekend Road Trip Edition of "As The Ball Bounces"

I'll start with the nasty business between Rafael Font de Mora, Meghann Shaughnessy and Anna-Lena Gronefeld(above). Meghann and Anna-Lena were both coached by Mr. Font de Mora and played doubles together. As anyone can see Anna-Lena is not following a diet conducive to playing top quality tennis. Meghann and Rafael are husband and wife. Font de Mora stopped coaching Anna-Lena citing her lack of discipline.

Well now Mr. Font de Mora is suing Ms Gronefeld for lost wages to the tune of one million dollars American.
He says that Anna-Lena broke the terms of their contract. This sounds like the stuff that goes on in the music business but hey it's all entertainment.

Groenefeld Law Suit


Did you know that the coaches of the WTA have formed their own organization?
Here's their website. Make your own decision.
Coaches on Tour


I ran across several interesting developments in the tennis world this Sunday morning that turned the Final Edition into the weekend edition.

WTAw got in a lot of trouble with the WTA for publishing entry lists a couple of years ago. The WTA felt that entry lists are private and not meant for public consumption until the tournament director(TD) and his/her/their staff felt like letting fans know who they were actually going to see after paying their hard earned money.

That is why recently a WTA tournament had Kim Clijsters picture up as one of the entrants into the event when every tennishead knew that Kim had just announced her pregnancy and was definitely not going to play.

Well now the ATP has gotten in on this scam. There were three major sites a tennishead could go to in order to find out who was playing at a particular event. Now those sites have been asked to cease and desist. That this is stupid and short sighted goes without saying - WTA attendance has not improved (more on this below) - and I'm waiting to see some site show Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi as entrants.

What I can guarantee will happen is that ATP players will be demonized for withdrawing from events they never planned to play in the first place. Everyone knew Serena's thumb injury was serious yet the Pilot Pen announced she was playing. Visits to that website featured Serena prominently. It's no secret that Serena Williams name draws fans. But expectedly, Serena officially withdrew from the tournament a day or two before the draw came out.

The sad thing is that these sites have no choice but to comply or be shut down. Fan reaction has predictably been negative.

ATP Bans Entry Lists on Tennis Forums

We Need A Female Tennis Star We Can All Love

Thanks to "Special600", a long time tennis fan I first met on the ESPN tennis board, for posting the next two articles. It's good to see that real tennis fans still post on that site.

Many a fan is pining for the time when Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Lindsay Davenport, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters were battling for Slams. Those were the days of great rivalries and power tennis that trounced the lesser players. Clijsters is the only one of the above mentioned who has officially retired (ironic, since she is the youngest of the group)...

Unfortunately, that is what women's tennis doens't have at the moment. There really isn't anything that sets the players apart. Henin should be the head-and-shoulders icon now, but there's a big difference between playing in Slam finals and actually winning them. Sharapova has been more a fashion model on court than a champion and, although Venus and Serena are still around to win the odd Slam, their impact on women's tennis is too short-lived and too few and far between.
Give Us A Star We Can All Love

The Rogers Cup - Toronto

This leads into the sad spectacle taking place in Toronto. Attendance has been abysmal. The pullouts didn't help - what is it about Canada that the women of the WTA don't like - and if any proof was needed that the WTA has not done the best job it could of promoting it's product the fact that the women's number one could not put butts into seats is telling.

One can only hope the women's tennis tour is paying attention.

The profile of the Rogers Cup has been badly damaged by a variety of factors, from pre-tournament withdrawals to curious in-match retirements to an overall absence of high-level tennis.

But nobody, at least outside of Tennis Canada, expected what happened yesterday. The audiences for the two semifinal matches, one in the early afternoon featuring the world's top player, Justine Henin, and one later in the evening, managed to fill slightly more than half the 13,000-seat capacity of the Rexall Centre...

A "legends" night last Monday featuring John McEnroe and Anna Kournikova drew very disappointing numbers. Even today's enormously appealing final between Henin and talented Jelena Jankovic of Serbia isn't yet sold out, with about 2,000 tickets still available.
Is Larry Scott Paying Attention?

I can say that the Golovin/Jankovic match, which was over by the time I watched it via tape delay on ESPN2 was a very good match. A more in shape Golovin would be facing Justine Henin today but I digress. Larry Scott is on record as having declared Maria Sharapova the "golden girl" of womens tennis, something I've already taken him to task for on this site. If the focus is all on one player to the exclusion of everyone else something has to suffer. In this case it's the product the WTA is presenting fans of women's tennis.

This is not a new argument. A couple of years ago myself and a few others on the ESPN board debated this long and hard. The WTA's product back then wasn't so hot either but no one wanted to talk about it and those of us willing to discuss it caught hell. I keep saying it but no one pays attention. Tennis fans are like cats. You can't tell us someone is the next big thing we can find that next star ourselves thank you very much. They've tried shoving one player down our throats and it's not working. Can you imagine what the geniuses of todays WTA would do with Steffi Graf and Monica Seles? Look at how they handle everyone other than Ms Sharapova and you get an idea of what would happen.

There is no need to ban entry lists from message boards ET. It is counter productive to declare a "golden girl" Mr. Scott. As the changes to both tours begin to take shape it looks right now as if the hard core fans, the ones like The Truth who pay money to go to Melbourne North aka Mason, Ohio to see tennis are the ones who are going to suffer.

"Faux" News

This just about sums it up. This "news article" was posted on WTAw by "Forehand_Volley".

Anne Worcester, Tournament Director of Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven and past WTA President and CEO, poses with her family as she announces the withdrawl of Serena Williams, and her no refund policy

Worcester's 'No Refund' Policy Spurs Tennis Fans Protest

New Haven, Aug. 18

"There will be no general admission refunds this year, even though I requested Serena Williams to enter Pilot Pen, knowing she wouldn't be able to play," stated Anne Worcester, Tournament Director of Pilot Pen in New Haven. "This decision is consistent with my request in 2006 to WTA President Larry Scott that early entry lists not be released or published so that we can maximize our ticket sales in New Haven. It was all part of the Road Map and US Open Series plan."

Lagging general admission ticket sales at the Pilot Pen saw a sudden spike after the announcement that Australian Open Champion Serena Williams would be playing in New Haven. Controversy has swirled in this small community with the sudden admission, then withdrawl of Serena Williams just days before the Pilot Pen tennis tournament was to begin. "There will be no refunds," states Worcester. "I lied about providing Richard Williams a Harley. I lied about having a helicopter ready for Serena when her plane landed in the field behind the New Haven McDonalds. It was all lies. Ronald McDonald will not be there for Kids Day. We needed the revenue."

WTA President and CEO, Larry Scott, could not be reached for comment.

Within hours of the announcement, angry protesters began symbolically tearing-up their Pilot Pen admission tickets and depositing them into McDonalds donation bins at three local New Haven McDonalds Restaurants. "I spent the last of my social security check to get the chance to watch Serena Williams play," said 71 year-old Eunice Boltworthy. "I'm really upset and afraid my internal cardiac defibrillator might spark. I need the refund to buy medicine."

Former Pilot Pen Champion, Jennifer Capriati was in attendance for the qualifying tournament which began today. Capriati is concerned about security during the matches. "Like, you know, I was like sitting there, and like, these people, you know, like, began holding up signs and screaming, like. And I'm like worried about the players, you know?"

"I did it for my children," said Worcester. "I could no longer continue to set a bad example for them by lying and manipulating the tennis public and had to come clean. I love Jesus but there will be no refunds." Asked about her future at the Pilot Pen Tournament after this latest controversy, Worcester states, "I am not planning on running for public office. That was never my intention."
What a world when "Faux" news is the only way to discuss and air what is really going on.

Ann Worchester Confesses

Road Trip Finals 8/19/2007


The Name vs James Blake

If Blake wins this check his feed okay? Blood, urine, hair sample, well ixnay on that last thing but you get my drift.

Blake is good beating up on guys that have been run over by golf carts but is befuddled by that great tennis mind Sam "I'd rather drive my mother's Porsche" Querrey. Look for the FedBot to play today while the real man heads for NYC.
Straights for The Name. Easy straights. 50th win. Yada yada yada. Moving on.

Justine Henin vs Jelena Jankovic

Can someone give me a reason for thinking Jelena will win this one when she's powned by Justine?
Straight sets, less than an hour for Justine. I'm not sure if there's a JustineBot. Today's match will help answer that question.

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